iCue

Website review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
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NBC's safe and informative political haven.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Positive Messages

The site's current focus is helping teens educate themselves and discuss the '08 presidential election in interactive, fun ways. Thus far, the message boards contain no flaming and include some meaty topics.

Violence

Only in a newsy way.

Sex

None observed on the iCue site; however, if teens go to the Student Center, they're sometimes routed to the MSNBC.MSN.com site where celebrity gossip includes some racy Hollywood-style news. For example, there's currently a slide show of photos of a bra-only wearing Britney Spears.

Language

Although not watched 24/7, moderators do keep tabs on content posted on the message boards, which thus far seems to be respectful, diverse, and on point. There's a report abuse button on the bottom of each post, and moderators even delete messages posted in all caps, to discourage escalating heated debates.

Consumerism

NBC logos are the only ads here. If users go to the Student Center, however, the MSNBC site they're linked to contains lots of ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

See above warning about link to MSNBC celeb gossip site. Some Hollywood news talks about drinking and drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a top-notch education, news, and discussion site for those who want to dig into politics, especially the '08 presidential elections. Created with the help of research based on MIT's Education Arcade, this site knows how to keep users on track for a quality educational experience -- that means respectful, diverse, and on point message boards and ways to report posters if they're inappropriate. Featuring video clips from the NBC news video archives that take on the form of "cue cards," users can save, archive, write on, and discuss their favorites.

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What's it about?

The upcoming presidential election is a hot topic across the Internet, yet it can be difficult for teens to find a site that brings the issues to them in an attractive and informative way. NBC News has created a teen political junkie's dream site -- and may even attract some teens who aren't that into politics -- with ICUE.COM. Keeping it real, the site also has a Student Center where teens who get tired of politics can go for pop culture and sports news. But the main focus is politics, both today's and historical video clips.

Is it any good?

The site's video, discussion boards, games, quizzes, and daily discussion starters help users dig into the people and issues in politics. Teens interested in broadcast journalism will also find the extensive video archives excellent case studies in political broadcasting. The site doesn't have a ton of registered users yet, and the discussion boards are only moderately active, but as the presidential election heats up, iCue.com may just be the hot spot in political education and discussion for junior high, high school, college, and even parents looking for a place to research, debate, and decide.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about everything related to the '08 presidential election using this information-packed site as a discussion starter, reference, and current events log. Discuss with your teen some of the site's rules for civil discourse, an important reminder on- and offline during an election year. View the site through the lens of media criticism and discuss the downsides of getting political news from only one media outlet. Is NBC presenting all candidates in an unbiased light? Do they seem to favor one candidate more than others? How can your teen make sure they're getting balanced news coverage?

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